Lebanese agricultural minister claims Beirut will be free of garbage ‘this week’

Published May 2nd, 2016 - 09:30 GMT
Piles of garbage block the streets in Beirut as the trash crisis continues to linger. (AFP/File)
Piles of garbage block the streets in Beirut as the trash crisis continues to linger. (AFP/File)

The trash plan is on the right track despite skepticism, Agriculture Minister Akram Chehayeb said Monday, denying that the revival of the nearly nine-month garbage crisis is looming once again.

"The capital Beirut, which has an estimated 500 tons of daily garbage, will be free this week from trash mounds, the old and the new," Chehayeb said in remarks published in the pan-Arab newspaper Al-Hayat.

He pointed out that "the plan was set to prevent the crisis from returning," announcing that a large part of the problem in Beirut and Mount Lebanon has been resolved.

The government is seeking the establishment of two factories to package the waste before transporting them, Chehayeb confirmed.

Last week, Kataeb Party head MP Sami Gemayel warned that Lebanon was on the verge of an environmental catastrophe.

“It is a disaster due to the effects that it will have on the Lebanese coast and sea, not to mention the corruption that has riddled the issue," he added.

In March, the government passed a plan which was met with widespread criticism. It reopened the infamous Naameh landfill, the closure of which sparked the initial calamity, in addition to establishing temporary landfills east of Beirut in Burj Hammoud and south of the capital in the coastal area of Costa Brava.

Massive amounts of trash began to pile up across Greater Beirut and parts of Mount Lebanon when the Naameh landfill was closed nearly a year ago with no alternative waste management plan in place. Thousands of residents took to the streets to demand an immediate resolution and the resignation of ministers.

"The Naameh will be permanently closed after the two-month period (set by the Cabinet) ends," Chehayeb told the daily, revealing that six Lebanese companies are taking part in the trash sector tenders to process the country's garbage.

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